Members and friends of the Almanzora Group of Friends have just returned from a 4 day trip to the Ronda area. Here our President, Shelagh Murdoch tells us about the visit.
We were picked up at normal points and had the usual refreshment stop on the way, and stopped just outside Granada airport to pick our tour guide – Lena, who is Danish and lives in Nerja.
Our first holiday stop was at El Pantano del Chorro – the reservoir up in the mountains of Malaga.
Rafael Benjumea Burín was the project manager of the El Chorro Reservoir or Conde de Guadalhorce Reservoir project. His contemporaries called Benjumea “the poet engineer ”. His works were described as brilliant because in them he combined the functionality of an engineering work with respect for the natural environment, harmonising utility with the beauty of the bill.
The praises of the beauty of the reservoir reached the ears of King Alfonso XIII, who made an official visit on May 21, 1921. The king was so impressed by what he saw that in September of that year he granted Rafael Benjumea the title de Conde del Guadalhorce, “for him, his children and legitimate successors”.
The view is spectacular and having taken a few photos we stayed on for lunch. Before we left for our next stop at Setenil de las Bodegas.
The town’s name ‘Setenil de las bodegas’ reflects its rich history; setenil, from the latin words septem nihil– “seven times no”; this refers to the seven times the Catholic rulers tried to take back the territory from the Moors, the medieval Arabian inhabitants who ruled much of Spain for several centuries. Only on the seventh attempt to conquer Setenil were the Catholics able to win the territory; one of the last Muslim strongholds in Iberia. ‘Solid as a rock’ Setenil (unavoidable pun) later began using the cool areas under the rock to store all kinds of local produce in large storerooms, which is how the town earned the second part of the name, “bodegas“, meaning ‘warehouse’ in Spanish.
Here we had coffee in a cave restaurant/bar under an overhanging rock, from here we visited a small family bodega (Lunares de Ronda) which was really interesting. We had the usual wine tasting and most of us came out with bottles of very good wine.
We finally arrived in Ronda, checked into our hotel, had dinner and went to bed. Although some explored the town and had a nightcap or two.
After breakfast we met our local guides and split into two groups to do a walking tour of new Ronda, then over the Puente Nuevo – straddling the famous gorge into the old town. On our return to the new town, many of us joined one of the guides for a tour of the Bull ring, one of the oldest in Spain. Now it is mostly used as a museum and tourist attraction.
We were then left to our own devices. My party (3 of us) went back to the old town and visited Casa Don Bosco for a drink and a snack on a balcony overlooking the gorge. We bought tickets for a Spanish Guitar Concert that evening. After a wander back to the hotel and a change of clothes we went to the concert, which was fantastic. The guitarist, Paco Seco, played a variety of tunes with passion and versatility. We would recommend that anyone visiting Ronda go to this concert. It only lasts 45 minutes – just right.
We then walked back over the Puente and had dinner at Restaurant Don Miguel overlooking the gorge on the new town side.
After breakfast we took the coach to Gibraltar for a few hours shopping, exploring or eating and drinking. It was the first time our coach driver had been to Gibraltar and he was fascinated by the route in requiring a crossing of the runway after a plane had just landed on it! His face was a picture. Wish someone had taken a photo.
After we then took the bus to Algeciras for the train ride back to Ronda. Unfortunately we did not do the spectacular ‘Mr Henderson’s Railway journey’, which would appear to be discontinued but we enjoyed a leisurely journey back with access to a bar!!
Our final day. After breakfast we got on the coach for our return journey via Malaga.
We stopped at the Vintage Car and Fashion Museum “Museo Automovilistico”. Well what an experience it was absolutely fantastic. Vintage cars with their corresponding fashion eras it was just wonderful and a definite must if you are visiting Malaga.
We then had time for a wander around in the city and have lunch or tapas before wending our way home, dropping Lena off on the way.
As always a huge thank you to our travel team for the effort that they put in to making our visits and short breaks such a success. We look forward to many more now that Covid restrictions have eased.